By Jamell Andrews
Most women would love to be able to get pregnant and have a baby without gaining a significant amount of weight, but it is just not possible. The American Pregnancy Association recommends a weight gain of 25 to 35 pounds for normal-sized women, 28 to 40 pounds for underweight women, and 15 to 25 pounds for overweight women. Deviating too much from these recommendations (in either direction) can lead to health problems for both mother and baby.
On average, new mothers post-birth tend to weigh about 15 to 25 pounds more than they did before becoming pregnant. Pregnancy does cause some changes in the body that can be difficult to reverse, so you may have to accept that you will never get your old figure back. However, accepting this, there is nothing wrong with trying to get back to your ideal weight.
It is not as difficult as you might assume. If you gained 30 pounds during your pregnancy, around 8 pounds of this will be from the baby herself, 1.5 pounds from the placenta, around 6 pounds from fluid volume and increased uterus weight, 4 pounds in increased blood volume, and 2 pounds in increased breast tissue. All in all, you will likely be left with under 10 pounds of stored fat to get rid of through diet and exercise. Of course, some women will have more or less, but this is the average.
The good news is that your extra post-pregnancy weight may not be all that much. The bad news is that this weight will not just disappear. You may have to work hard to get it off. Here are some things to keep in mind when losing your baby weight:
1. Take your time: Do not give in to the temptation to try to shed all your extra weight within a week or two after giving birth. Crash dieting is never healthy, and it is especially harmful when you have a new baby to care for. Remember, although you are not eating for two anymore, you do have to make sure that you get enough nutrition to pass on to your baby through breastfeeding. You did not gain your baby weight overnight, so do not expect to get rid of it immediately.
2. Continue to eat a little extra: Doctors recommend that mothers who feed their babies exclusively through breast milk should consume an extra 500 calories per day. As you phase out breastfeeding in the future, talk to your doctor about the best course of action for regulating your diet.
3. Get moving: Even as you continue to consume extra calories during the early months of your baby’s life, you can begin to shed those extra pounds through exercise. If you had a healthy pregnancy, it should not be difficult to get back into the swing of things. One of the best ways to get exercise is to walk daily, as you can bring your baby with you.
4. Have help: If you have a partner to share the burden with you, give each other time each day to exercise without having to worry about the baby’s needs. You can also get help from family or friends who are willing to take the baby off your hands for an hour or two a few times a week.
5. Resist temptation: During pregnancy, many mothers use their condition as an excuse to eat what they want when they want. It can be hard to get out of that pattern, but you are never going to get rid of that baby weight if you are unwilling to be a little hard on yourself. While you do need extra calories for nursing, try to avoid unhealthy snacks and desserts. Confine yourself to healthy, balanced meals.
About Jamell: Jamell Andrews has authored numerous articles on various aspects of parenting, baby’s health and natural wellness.
*This is a sponsored post.